Writing Wisdom, Real-Time (and Not)

An impending data download dump of writing wisdom is about to fill my cranium.

On Saturday I leave for a 10-day residency in my MFA in Writing program in Montpelier, Vermont. A number of readers have encouraged me to share some of my experiences and learning as I follow this path, and I intend to do so. And it seems at least one of my soon-to-be classmates was ambitious enough to blog every day from the previous residency.

This image of VCFA's College Hall is from their Facebook page. I've never been to campus, but I look at this photo and the setting seems too fantastic to be real. It strikes me as a well-painted backdrop for a black-box theatre play set in New England featuring a romance between a bashful poet with nicotine-stained teeth and tangled black hair and a fragile cellist with thick tortoise-shell glasses and band-aids on her knees.

I don’t think I’ll have the brainpower or energy to pull that off.

You can expect some nice, meaty blog posts in the months following the residency, though, as I impart various nuggets of wisdom, complete with full credit to the original sources.

This blog will continue to have new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but like Johnny Carson pioneered, the Monday and Wednesday items will be “Best of…” posts, a mix of the popular and ones overlooked deserving of more consideration. For the Creativity Tweets of the Week, I’ll do that more like a sitcom “clip show,” pulling out some of the best links from past posts and forming new lists.

The Vermont College of Fine Arts blog has instructed me to tweet from the residency, even suggesting hashes. I will do my best, but my 43-year-old brain isn’t the best at multitasking, so if it’s a choice between listening to a speaker or cramming something I just heard into 140 characters, I’ll probably favor the former. In fact, I don’t think I’ll tweet much at all. I do love to tweet, but there are a lot of things I love to do (like kissing my wife) that I won’t be able to do during residency.

Wish me luck!

8 thoughts on “Writing Wisdom, Real-Time (and Not)

  1. Good luck, Patrick! Doing things like this always gives me a mixture of excitement, intimidation and even resistance to leaving my normal routine. Then once I’m there, it takes on a life of its own. Such a great thing, to shake up your routine and your thinking periodically.

    I know you’ll get so much out of it. Can’t wait to read about it and see more pictures of the cool architecture.

    I won’t be very far from you. Next Wednesday I arrive in southwestern New Hampshire to live in a 1790 house for 5 weeks. Summer in New England is an absolute delight!


  2. Best of wishes on your residency – may it be everything you hope for and more. Soak up every iota of literary wisdom and trust your 43-year-old cranium to retain the bones because if you have those building blocks, your creative psyche will fill in the rest! 🙂


  3. Good luck, enjoy, absorb as much as you can, and don’t worry about twitter. Just a little bit too much pressure there. Looking forward to hearing about it when you return. You are my guinea pig, since I’m considering a low residency mfa program and I’m a few years older than you. 🙂


  4. What? You’d rather kiss your wife than Tweet? Well, I guess you didn’t really say that, did you? 😉 But I’m guessing that is the case.

    As per usual, LOVE your captions, almost the best part of the posts! Your quirky side shines there … I think we have quite similar personalities. The serious side and the goofy, quirky side, all rolled into one delicious treat!

    You are already at your MFA as I write so I will send you the best of intentions, excellent karma and a big glass of pineapple juice for luck. What? Didn’t know pineapple juice was lucky? I didn’t either until I just made that up. Maybe its time to go to bed now. Goodnight! 😉


  5. angelathewriter87

    Excuse me Patrick, you did not tell me you were famous. Forgive me for stalking your name on search engines. I thought I loved your writing in workshop…this blog is awesome! And if my laptop would open pdf files as it should, I’m sure I would love your clips too. Wow.


    1. My goodness, Angela, you’ve made my month. I think if I were truly famous you would have heard of me already (!) but I’m so flattered you like my writing and have found me online. Not sure you’d think much of my clips, my professional writing is (by necessity) on the dry side. That’s part of why I’m pursuing the MFA, to get those creative muscles in shape.

      I’ve been meaning to tell you, but I guess was too shy, that I really enjoyed meeting you, and while happy for you that you’ve graduated, am sad that I won’t see you at future residencies. I’d really love for us to stay in touch, and be friends even if it’s virtual. You’re a really impressive young woman and I think you have a bright future, but I really just like you as a person. (And who doesn’t love someone with a sense of humor?)


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